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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  February 1, 2011 9:00am-12:00pm EST

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blood sport. you've had three and a half families, in essence, ruling the country, and you've had two prime ministers murdered and a president killed along with a governor. and so i think you've got to realize that there's an emotional issue here that goes beyond politics and, therefore, does condition the way a lot of this seems to work. second, i would also make the observation that in terms of the economy, the results and consequences of the flood have never really been corrected, and that's going to make pakistan extremely difficult economically, and it could implode. regarding the big idea, psychologically it's something we've been pushing, that's something that needs to be pushed. my question is this: assuming a worst case, assuming ppp is defeated, assuming that you have political chaos, what should be america eastern strategy -- america eastern strategy as
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pakistan drifts further from be us and sees itself as a country that's more undependent or just becomes fragmented because of political chaos? >> >> one more question here, and then i'll get the panel to respond. >> i'm not a pakistani despite my accent. i hi some historical -- think some historical context. pakistan is not one nation, it is several nations dominated by the punjabis, and one has to look back at the partition of what was done. sliced the country up. ..
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my question is are you sure about this future business? >> thank you. >> quick responses to some of those questions and we will go back to one last question. >> two of these, this is good news for pakistan. led did say the good will come with the bad. if you think this means provinces will have more
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autonomy and people will be happier, next year the debate in this town will be the provinces have no idea what to do. that money is leaking more than -- what we should do is drive the capacity but not go back to the system of civilized policy. this is the inset but the need much more support. harmon's point, if ppp is defeated, there will be an election and it will come. it will be a centrist coalition party. with it they are as willing to cozy up to as we will see. [inaudible] >> i am saying is it will not
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come about because anybody has lost. this was my point. what seems like a loss may not be. if the previous political crisis in pakistan, let's look at that crisis. had the ppp government falls on what would happen? in no-confidence vote. war in midterm election. constitution was in doubt to. that is a huge influence where the street would have asked the military. the military has offered something. there is an improvement. i don't see any change that would bring chaos in that sense. [inaudible] >> even greater unrest. it will be much greater. >> the question was the economy. i don't buy that the program will work and they don't know what to do.
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there's another slate of hand to push that back in the next we 9 months. you live on until you get to that consensus where they get things that the last minute. there is no guarantee but that is more likely than putting their hands up and saying sorry. >> quick response. >> very quick to vote point about textile liberalization. this is something that windy pushed hard when she was ambassador. in the aftermath of 9/11. i tried to carry as many pails of water as i could for this were the initiative. we ran into a bipartisan buzz saw which is probably still there. if we were able to get textile reforms through, that would be excellent. >> i had a few comments on harlan's point. i agree with moeed yusuf that -- this is not the right
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precipitant but there are some pretty likely precipitating scenarios that could put our relationship in a glidepath to disaster. if there were to be an attack on our soil, it is not like mohammad. we know full well on news leash less care reside. that would be the chipping point. pakistan would find itself in a position -- we would no longer ask if a friend or enemy. there would be such public outrage. the one of the few groups specifically mentioned. that is why it is important that we think about the new big idea for pakistan. let's put a few things on the table. i actually believe it should be true. when it gets down to it pakistan and the united states -- end of story, we don't see
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the region the same way or want a the same region. we want different things to happen in different parts of the world. how do we have a strategic alliance when our strategic interests differ? at the core of this pakistan does not believe. we accept that as a nuclear state. we think at the end of the day, we want to take that up. we can't confirm legitimacy to the program in the same way we confer legitimacy to india. we can do so with pakistan on a very different basis using different logic and a specific set of conditions that ultimately failed because we will waive those conditions. putting that out on the table creates an enormous thing to talk about. what can pakistan do to deal with the strategic issues over which we differed so much? if pakistan says we need less because of india we can put in
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place a security guarantee and negotiate with the indians. we are smart enough that we can think about things they care about. at the end of the day they still say -- we have clarified in the political process what goes in with pakistan and that in and of itself will disabuse some elements of health or despair. >> three more questions, very quick questions and responses and try to finish up in the next we 5 minutes. >> a quick question on terrorism. from the establishment of the cia that there may be 200 in pakistan and afghanistan. the next was to take them out
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including ivan of our. there were 240 strikes but we will be nearing that, unknown military strike. we just see a figure, 13 militants. my question is how long will it take and how much more to take out -- there was something -- >> very quickly. >> something about terrorism. the other question is we see in pakistan coming from
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afghanistan, and then you see and other environment in baluchistan. now americans are coming so we are not pressuring the country's to stop citizens from going to pakistan and committing terrorism. >> elaine from the department of state to. this is a good angle. thanks a lot. we have heard the saying many times before. all politics are local. we see maybe more engagement of the pakistani diaspora to link back into pakistan to provide underpinnings for future
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development and more immediate stabilization and ongoing dialogue and populous in pakistan. maybe this could be the new frontier. and i sort of since the cayley came out of congress since they pushed it through, maybe jonah blank would like to respond to that. >> this is relationships and i wonder if you would, and in various futures we can see whose constituencies might see as their international friends and what that might mean for us. >> we will start with chris. moeed yusuf en jonah blank, try
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to keep your remarks -- >> drones are straightforward. elements--despite the fact there have been countless images of the drones -- they have this idea that drones are coming from some place mysterious. the idea that they're tackling pakistan, on our side it is ridiculous to say there are no drones. and they misbehave with the daughters and i am arguing and have argued vigorously for transparency. we need to know what their operational significance was. most importantly one of the big shifts that has happened since pakistan has been a partnership as we are killing more of their enemy than in the past. a watershed event, was pakistan, he wasn't sending us a suicide
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bombers. more often than not what pakistan military folks say is we want droned our self. we want to be more sophisticated in our discussion of drones picking up sophistication elsewhere that ultimately when you have more transparency to get to your question. i am very sympathetic to your point about international terrorists and militants coming to pakistan. i interpret it differently than you do. i think of it as supply and demand. condition on radicalizing a country, very few places where you can go to finishing school terrorist training. pakistan is one of those places because of the action in choice for military agencies. if you want to be a terrorist and yorkist off for reasons that are completely local. there are very few places where you can go to take your
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terrorism aspirations. if you want to operate with impunity you have this archipelago and infrastructure in places where the pakistani state has the best sovereignty that looks at swiss cheese. i see this more on supply and demand. pakistan has seen more in terms of cleaning up the supply and availability of these amenities and all of the countries involved in this have to deal with the issues that are printing demand for militancy and to become militant. >> to the question about the pakistani diaspora, we have provisions encouraging that and a variety of exchange programs but ultimately this is something that has got to come from the diaspora and the relatives who
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stayed behind. it is not going to be america that saves pakistan. it will be pakistan that saves pakistan if pakistan is to be saved or watches as pakistan is not save. we really have to be aware of what our limitations are. we can make a lot easier for members of the diaspora to send money to travel back and forth on the free exchange of people but ultimately this is something that is going to be in the hands of pakistanis there and here. agree with chris. we need more transparency. i often advocated a openly and above board double flaging the drones that this is a joint u.s./pakistani endeavour. neither u.s. nor pakistani officials have shown any appetite for that.
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>> let me just make two or three comments to cover what was asked. i think this relationship basically can be summed up by the phrase duplicity for all. everybody is lying and if the -- i am the biggest advocate. everything should be transparent. the problem is not only drones but everything should be transparent. things which are not in the country's own interests or u.s. or pakistan doing, i don't think we have an idea in that sense. the question about international trends was a good one. what that points to is what pakistan paints as stable is not what we think our partnership with pakistan should be. if we go to pakistan you will not find the u.s. even in the top four or five.
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the chinese won't show up or chinese, maybe the brits i looking very good. but the u.s. would not. we need to be cognizant and you are right. we could do 0.3%. most of the problems in pakistan and the solutions come from that. that is just about what we can do. that is number one. we can push it and nudge it in the right direction. final comment. this is a a good example. any talk i go to one pakistan this comes out. everyone agrees it is a country in trouble and everybody gives solutions which even the u.s. cannot implement. let's be careful and realistic. there is no way pakistan will be able to deliver on most of the things we want it to in the next six months. it has to be an efficient
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long-term policy. you have to project this forward in the number of years. would you need to be careful about. what i would be worried about is a f ferris evidence the military is not with these issues but if there is evidence that they are, that is okay because you need time to actually do this. we need to be very clever what we should expect the versus what we do. >> thank you to our panelists and all of you. we are going to take a ten minute coffee break and come back for our final session. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> thank you for coming out. i'm realize more than four hours
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into pakistan and pakistan fatigue must be beginning to set in but i promise you that this panel will i hope be the jewel in the crown of this performance. we have two of america's foremost experts on pakistan, pakistan army, the u.s./pakistan elation should today with me. you can read their bios. and won't read everything there. shuja nawaz is director of the council. he created the south asia center of the atlantic council which in a short time has become one of the most important go to places for studying pakistani issues and south asia. his book cross swords, pakistan and the wars within is a must read for anyone who wants to
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understand the future of pakistan. if you like what you read in it you should ask him for the unedited version which goes on to a thousand pages and has an incredible amount of information within it. stephen cohen is the author and editor of 12 books. he is the father of pakistan studies in the united states of america. at least that is what we of the brookings institution like to think. he has given us the very idea of pakistan in one of his break through books and he of course is the principal sponsor of the adagio papers which brings you altogether. i am going to ask shuja nawaz to speak first and then steve and i will speak for a few minutes. we will wrap up promptly at 12:00 so that we can get on to the road before the ice starts.
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>> thank you to stephen cohen and moeed yusuf for inviting me to be part of the bellagio conference and to speak today. i should also mention, for a more recent understanding of the relationship we should also read bruce's latest book deadly embra embrace, which connect all the dots for you. that is something that shouldn't be left off of the table. obviously at the end of such a rich afternoon's discussion there is not an awful lot that one could add in terms of the issues. i was given the task of a bunch of questions like how does
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pakistan course correct and what will pakistan have to do internally and what should the u.s. and international community do? what are the optimal policies from within and without and what this implies for the future of the u.s./pakistan relationship? in short to providing ten minutes the silver bullets answer that washington has been trying to stumble around and look for in the dark for the past ten years, to begin with, how does pakistan course correct? pakistan is on course and it knows where it is going. often quoting you ibert's famous statement about if you don't know where you are going, any road will take you there.
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one that first brought me to my attention. i don't believe pakistan has this position and i don't believe that the civilian government has spent any of its time producing that vision and trying to get national understanding of that vision. in the manner it could bring along the other parties and perhaps also manage to bring along or convince pakistan military which continues to play a critical role on the political and military side in pakistan. a clearly defined vision of what kind of pakistan it will be. that is the reality that they have to deal with.
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and the political system changes because of those causes it will be hard to expect politicians to change it in a matter, the cartel that they currently have. and the landowners, and a rich business men that allied themselves with the interest groups. i also want to refer, out of conflict for clarity. and and it is based on the presence of eastern systemic infrastructure and understanding, whatever policy changes you want to bring about.
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if you want to bring about the reforms in the economy and you make that effort, confusion, all the indicators start going down, this is not the case in pakistan today. there are referencess to the fact the most immediate critical issue is the economy. meaning to wait out the way it granted pakistan. that program is dead. pakistan will not have the capacity to start paying back the u.s.. pakistan will have difficulty
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accepting more money because it wouldn't be able to pay the imf back. the basic principle is it is a short to medium term linder to paid back so others -- i don't believe there's currently a division or political will, or the economic team knows it has to be made and they are ready to make those reforms but there's no support in parliament. in this chaos and confusion and for those that know me well in washington, i am accused of being an optimist.
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i am finding it difficult to retain that optimism and less -- this is my big thing, there's an internal effort for these issues. and start looking outside the solutions. we are at a critical juncture. pakistan cannot, the domestic and sri regional pressures. domestic pressures are not just economic. and militancy. the regional pressures whether we like it or not u.s. policy board those in other countries are not heavily tied. domestically the issue is a
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transition which is going badly. the eighteenth amendment, financing a very good idea but there was no capacity to actually implement the national finance award or to implement the eighteenth amendment. suddenly when you hand over responsibility and revenue to the provinces they have no incentive although they seem to have worked it out and in the end, even with the legendary program for the support program, provided for that sort and it ends of becoming a political point. the hole -- to get the incumbents reelected.
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internally, we are finding a state of equilibrium of sorts where it cleared a lot of territory. they are finding it very difficult to hold or impossible to transfer. there is no civilian or administrative capacity. there needs to be a very rapid move towards recognizing the nexus or counter-terrorism. i am going to be talking about this at greater length tomorrow when we counter the insurgency report that the atlantic council. civilians for the last two years created the idea of a counter-terrorism of 40 and done nothing with it. the law has not been moved to
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parliament. and the counter-terrorism authority is based under the prime minister. it will be hard to imagine the pakistan military participating in that venture particularly if it is part of the interior ministry. there are some real problems on that course. to go back to one of the issues raised in the discussion there needs to be a focus which accepts the outside of the reality and gives up the mainstream educational system. .. reality and builds them up and mainstreams them into the educational stirm. can go in and are not going, it is not going to work. unfortunately, on this i don't blame the current government. i only blame the musharraf regime, because they an opportunity and they messed it
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up. they didn't move forward to get that approved. finalry, looking at the opportunities for the international coity and the >> i think in a very short run in order to prepare for the lonn run, there needs to be very for careful look at what kind of resistance with a support very c capacity building inside pakistan. the idea is to not to buy, but to use tough love to suggest they need to take certain actions and to fix the policies that they need to support all to the elements in pakistani society that are working at the ground level. you're not simply recycling aci system to the elite or back to the united states simply recycling the assistance to the elite or back to the united states. now, mr. holbrooke did a great job in trying to stop the old model of bringing old money back into the beltway.
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now we have to make sure that it doesn't stay with the provincial capital that it actually gets out into the feetd. we have to recognize has 45 tu. pakistan won't have exactly the same but will you good friends. once you recognize that, i think there is an opportunity to see what kind of changes can occur. yesterday, the comment made by chris, in are things the pakistanis didn't expect from the u.s. the civil nuclear deer was one, and, of course, the access of pakistani goods to the u.s. market is another. all the nicks toint to that. there's a great study, development that gives specific information on this, and i suggests you look at that, for that. and finally, let me end on one point. it is time for pakistani politicians to act like politicians.
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and not by businessmen. it's in their political input, because if they mess this up, pakistan is going back to square one and we've seen this movie before. and it doesn't have a good ending. thank you. >> good. i'm tempted to say that i agree with everything that everybody said, then sit down and answer some question, but let me say a few thing about the project and my own views about policy. first of all, i do not know -- i've only lived in pakistan a month at a time, although several nos, and, really others
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know the country much better than i do. i did get interested in pakistan years ago when i look at the role of the indian military and role of the pakistan military. from what point on i kept and open interest because i knew in the long-term they would be critically important for the future. unfortunately i was right and this last trip to pakistan, my hosts for a couple of weeks, and i would say that unfailingly. honest in their response. they always give me great access to their soldier, and to their officers. even when they know i strongly disagree with what they're doing. the army may not be part of the probably, but it's certainly part of the solution. let me talk briefly, say first of all that chris' suggestion. i don't know what's successful in terms of american policy but i know what failure would look like. failure, crisp suggestions we ought not have a continuing policy against pakistan. if that happens, we have utterly
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and completely failed. that's also in the possible policy. you can't contain a country of 250 million people from this distance and the i don't think we want to affect a relationship with indian as well as other countries. so containment may be a policy but it's unworkable in the long run. how do we get to get it linked as a policy? in the short term, talked about a lot of steps which could have been, should have been done and weren't done. speaking of american policy and this is as much a pakistani policy problem than an unrollieness to put 1/100 into normalizing the straight agreement with pakistan and the nuke letter deal -- pakistan, a new ally against terrorism. where was this case? where were the textiles. they were willing ing to congrp
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overcome opposition. i believe india, but no effort from the u.s./pakistan textile agreement. under the calculations bean r behind it, the first thing i'd hear from pakistanis after 9/11. we want to sell you taxtiles, and we wouldn't do it. the second kind of policy fix that has to be done was a nuclear -- in a sense while i was in some way in fraver of a nuke letter deal i don't know why we couldn't offer to the pakistani if only to get a different dialogue going. three countries nuclear weapons states but outside the mpg and no administration has been interested in even thinking about this. again, what you get, they did all of these pad things in the past, therefore you can't talk about it in the future. struck me as amateur policy. before pe did things in the past, we want to talk to them about the future and this could be part of the future, but we're
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not going anywhere. so i think there were a flub of medium policies could have been should, have been pursuing which we're not. i'm not sure i carry lugar in that mix. the pakistani, completely misunderstand stand. i guess it's rathery lugar berman. but that was largely jonas doing the right policy at the right time. hard to -- because of the position of the united states. we've talked about that. on the medium term a big idea. borrow chris' term. it shouldn't be pakistan but pakistan in its regional context. if you talk to pakistan's military, the one thing they're worried about is america in their land and on their board easy. while they largely exaggerate this, with regard to indians, they've got nuclear weapons. that's what we did, we, the
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soviets. adon't worry about the number ever india an kraft use yourary kraft one day earlier. you're supposed to. >> hearon an owner using their. that's a natural strategy for pakistan, blut in the long retun this is unstainable. pack thanh has to have relations with others, and there's been zero to little interest in this yt. i think that should be the big idea. only two pieces i've read recently, reviewed by steve kohl, the "failure of america. then i'll send out a piece byna interested in peace so it doesn't break out into a nuclear arms race between pakistan and
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india and also the survival of pakistan in coherent fashion. i think that's what at stake. whether this administration or the next to can do this, i doubt. i think, as that bounces off people. in fe and they rightly suspect once the reasons are fulfilled, we will disappear. suspicions of american ficklists, frankly borne out by history, also by their other pair noiy. that's how it contributes to it. this should be a normalization of south asia relations. begin with borders. all these xrunts unacceptable borders, yindia pakistan, india and china. pakistan, afghanistan. the borders are 50, 60, 70 years old in cases and they're still unregulationed. i would begin with but china's
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part of this and i'd look at arms control. india and pakistan are acquiring the capacity to blow themselves up many, many times over. in my last lecture i spoke to both colleges and said you could be consent killing 50 million pakistanis or indians. that should be enough to keep them out of your back pocket. i said, it's not how much weapons you have. of the other side you kill. that was satisfy for the french in terms of soviets. you should be satisfied for ind india. and to look at us and our relationships, they've learn more is bet perp we're trying to undo misjudgments of deck dadad while we see this. hundreds of weapons, comes as no prize. areas where we have a legitimate important role to play in terms of normalizing the relationship
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between pakistan and its neighbors. especially in afghanistan. how do we do this? i'm not sure. i do think, ta take up a suggestion of bruce riedel in his last book, which i've got in my paper, in fact, looking at how we ogz ourselves to deal with india and pakistan, or pakistan, i think that we're doing a little research on this. as i understand it, i did work for the murphy kpligs in the 1970s. bill did not want the same general or admiral going into india and pakistan. so they divided india into peking. used to be a different name. and pakistan incenseham. the same admiral or general would not have to visit each country. then he told me, he's serious
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about this. of course the policy will be carrying the other baton. i assure you it is not. there's no linkage except casually and accidental. i was in the white house for the briefing rollout of the last afghanistan. i said what about india in afghanistan? he said, well, that's on our to-do list, quoted from the paper. there's no serious thinking about that. the restructurings will pay place, security council, assigned someplace else. against serious issues. until we get that straight, nothing much is going to happen. let me conclude by two cbms. conference building measures. academically speaking. one conference building mercker should be what i try to do in the paper. limit it to a limited degree. compare pakistan with a range of countries similar but not --
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you'll see names. another islamic revolution, perhaps, indonesia. farcherable example of malaysia, another exemption of political transformation. we need to systematically compare pakistan with like countries. they're not all aidentical but pakistan sheaed some features with all of the above. the second conference building mercker would be the big idea nap is, india/pakistan nommalization. i don't see this in the near future, but before we go to policy containment, where we see pakistan as a threat and enemy, we should try to get out of the box, out of the cut. try to avoid that conclusion and do whatever we can. it's a country. from doing that altogether. >> thank you. >> i was asked to speak shortly,
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briefly, about the u.s. foreign policy in pakistan. now, i can't help but start by looking at the current state of u.s. pakistani relations. although both claim we have a sta treechic dialogue and engaged in strategic engagements and although we have more meetings of all time thafren before, the truth is, the u.s./pakistani relationship today is in the deep state of disrepair. there is intense frustration on both sides. i'll just speak about the americans, though. the chief of station at the cia in islamabad was outed earlier this year. it's not a secret. it's in every newspaper in the unite. that's an stroid jae. even in the most hostile state, and this is supposed to be our friend. more extraordinary, immediately it was put out by the cia who
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was outed by the isi. by the pakistani interservices intelligence organization. i don't know whether that's true or not, but when intelligence relationships have deteriorated from that point, we are in very deep, bad waters. on top of the frustration, there are constant cries of impending doom. that as bad as it is today, it could get far worse. after the events in times square last may we saw a whole -- traveling with a simple message. if there's a mass casualty terrorist attack on the united states that goes off successf successfully, the u.s./pakistani relationship will go to a place it has never been before, and for those who couldn't fig wrer that place was, bob woodarded to
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us. 150 targets are already set in central command. again, i don't know if that's true, but this is a very dangerous and bleak situation. i agree fully with what steve just said. containment won't work either. that's not an option that has any relegs i agree with something jonah said earlier. we have to be realistic. the united states' influence in pakistan, over pakistan's future, is extraordinarily limited. i'll actually adapt his point just a little bit. our capacity for harm as the lft 60 years show, is quite large. we can make bad situations really bad situations, but our capacity to make good situations better is very, very limited. the future will be determined by pakistanis, not by americans. so the first place i start thinking about u.s. foreign
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policy as the yu -- don't make it worse. given the history that this president inherited what i refer to as a witches' brew, found that will be in itself an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. one flies start is where christine left off in the last conversation. which was more transparency. more honesty, for let's get down to what year really doing on both sides. that, sourof course, sounds so simple and becomes extraordinarily difficult when the secretary of state or the president of the united states does it on national television. but i think there's much to be said for that. so what beyond transparency should we do? i have a lot of suggestions in the book that shows you, and steve both kindly agreed to plug, without my even asking them to do so.
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so i'll refer you there for moi law priority you number one. wom show no under estimate the process. we have done it over and over in the past. it's always easy to go to the chief of army staff and get something fixed in 24 hour. whether it's a u2 base, money for the mahajadeen. the civilian democratic leadership is as shuja pointed out, lacking in leadership today. they don't really have an idea where they're going. i would just amend that. i think there were a few ideas
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about where he wanted to go and those all died in the mumbai massacre and i think that was one of the points of the mumbai massacre to make sure any good idea he had went nowhere at all. retrieving them would be really difficult to do. several people have stressed the importance of symbolism here, and i think that's right. how we deal with the fact that -- sends in warmest signals to the entire pakistani people about who we think is in charge, who should be in charge and who we're going to deal with, and in 2011, this administration is going to have two very, very important opportunities to get the symbolism right, and it's going have to make those efforts, and make that right, and what is going to be very difficult environment. opportunity number one is going to be when president zardari comes to the united states, which i gather will be sometime in march. how we deal with that, as the
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president pakistan. not as mr. zardari, but as the president of pakistan, is absolutely important. if we send the signal a that we think all he is is a crook and a bum, then everybody else in the world will see him that way. if we bad-mouth him in the media coming out of the white house and the state department, then everyone if you don't believe me, go ask hamid karzai. we know what happens when that happens. we need to give him an opportunity to present his case to the american people. i think the congress of the united states should invite limb to come speak to a joint session for the united states congress. i think the american media needs to give president zardari every possible chance to explain where his vision this day is. if shuja's right, we'll be exposed. let's hope he can come up with better talking points.
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more than that, though, it's also an opportunity for him to fight for what pakistan needs. we talked a little about the lugar legislation and about textiles. i can tell you, if you think it was hard to get kerry lugar through the last congress, the tea party's going to teach you a lesson about american congress and how it works that you won't forget. do you think it's hard to get textile legislation through the last american congress? >> delegations now have a lot of supporters all over the united states of america and the republican party and in the democratic party, it's going to be very hard to sell. let's let the pakistani government try to make its case on its own. and then there's the second opportunity. president obama promised that he's going to go to pakistan when this is through. this is aneenormously important.
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the president needs to get out of islamabad. talk to opposition parties, he needs to connect with the pakistani people. the secret service is going to say, are you out of your mind? they've told me that many times before. thankfully, i won't have to answer the question this time, but he's going to have to use this opportunity to send all kind of messages about where the united states is. the second point is about our diplomacy, and i think here we have two challenges ahead. what i call the small diplomatic challenge is in afghanistan. if general petraeus is right, and we value to hope that he is right, that we have now halted the momentum of the taliban, then the process of trying to find a political process in afghanistan is in front of us.
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the logic of the president's policy in afghanistan and since the begins was changes on the battle begin to open the door to changes in the frill sphere. pakistan has to be part of that process. if it is true as i believe it is true that if you want to talk to the shorea, the bet way to get them on the phone is call general pasha. then the way to get there is to call general pasha. general pasha shouldn't control the process, but one thing's for sure. if he doesn't want it to happen it will never happen. if we treat pakistan as a spoiler in afghanistan it will be the spoiler, so we have to find a way to bring pakistan into this process and see if they can be part of change in afghanistan. the second part is the big idea. and here steve and i are exactly
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in the same place, that we're in such violent agreement on this it's almost frightening. we even used the same terminology. the big picture for the united states is not just winning the war in afghanistan, or defeating islamic extremism in afghanistan. and pakistan. it's somehow stabilizing south asia. for the last decade at least, if not more, certainly since the cargo war if not beforehand, we've been playing russian roulette in south asia. by my counted we have now at least explored three rounds. you know, there -- if we have another terrorist attack on the scale of mumbai or on the scale of new delhi in 2001, i think all bets are off the next go-round. i know all the reasons by india show restraint in the past but i
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also know at certain points politicians don't listen to reason. they listen to what they have to do. so we do need a big idea. big diplomacy. something that would be very complex. the good news here is there are a lot of stakeholders who also share or interest in trying to do something about this. for example, china. china used to have a south asia policy all about using pakistan as intended. now china has a huge economic relationship with india. it has a more subtle and more significant relationship with india than it did in the past. the pakistani nuclear program described in "the washington post" today, gives a lot of other people a stakeholder in this as well. this is a very complex, and it has to be done in a way that is sophisticated, subtle, and where most of what the united states does is below the radar screen,
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now many of you will say, well, that's not america. we can't do it, but rime convinced i'm convinced that we can do it if we put our minds to it. this president has invested a tremendous amount of interest in activity in india over the last two years. it wasn't this is his first state visit. it's not an accident that he's the first american president in more than a quarter century to go to india in his first term, in fact, in his first two years in office. i don't speak for the president, but i think his accesses sh act show he does understand the big idea. whether he can translate it into success remains to the seen. i just want to conclude on the same point that steve could be cluded on. organization. organization is very important. and we are very poorly organized
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today for dealing with this part of the world. afghanistan, pakistan or af-pak as it was inappropriately named, the other half is actually the bigger and more important part, and that's pakistan-india, and we do need to reorganization ourselves to see the region holistically. deal with is hol risksy. my good news for my comrades and friends in uniform is we've already got a base in the region for your forward deployment headquarters. you're going to love yegg oh garcia. and with that, we're going to open it up to questions, and ask everyone who's going to raise a question, come to one of the microphones. please, identify yourself very, very briefly, and, please, raise a short question. i think what we're doing is take three or four questions and then have a round of the panel and then take one more.
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as i said, we're going to properly close in a half an hour. >> ladies first. >> trudy ruben. bruce, given the political constraints that both you, that all three of you referred to in what this administration can do or could get through congress, where do you think they might start, where they would have a chance of making headway? is reorganization symbolically a place to start? is it starting in the conduct as you described of -- what is
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achievement in the remainder of this president's term? >> thanks. i'm not even sure whether i am supposed to answers the question, but let me just throw two things. one, i think i agree with most of what has been said here. india seems to bed single bullet as far as pakistan is concerned. the real question ask what can be done? yes, i mean i accept bruce's point there is leverage, but i'm part of a number of -- india, vociferously disagreed with any channel, back, front or any. the pakistanis want that, of course. is there something specific, beyond saying that we have leverage? what is it that the u.s. and others can do, if anything, or is it that we're going to leave these two countries at the mercy of the next mumbai and see what happens? i mean, in the context of what washington can do when it looks at pakistan and the
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reorganization and the messages that the president has to give, i think one other message i would add, and i think i completely agree with what is being said is that perhaps somebody from washington needs to explain islamabad. just how a place washington is, because there is a sense every time i talk 20 people there, in terms of thinking than washington is. i mean this seriously because if this can be conveyed, perhaps these conspiracy theories will be put to rest that everything is being done under this grand plan of does membering pakistan or whatever i keep on hearing. thanks. >> one more. >> my question is, if you talk to anybody in pakistan on the street and ask what is the problem in terms of extremism, once u.s. leaves everything will be solved. is there an understanding with the military or military relations what is the root cause or how it will be solved?
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>> can i ask you to take the last? >> sure. >> or whatever you wish. >> i don't think we should be looking for solutions in the military to military relationship. i think the military to military relationship is really addressing a very limited number of issues which are either related to the u.s. and coalition efforts in afghanistan or in attempting to try and keep a handle on militancy inside pakistan in a way that it could deter the emergence of any new attempt at bombing the mainland of the united states. so that's really not going to provide the solution. i do want to mention on
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moeed's question, bruce, what can be done. yes india does oppose third party intervention but historically india always sought third party intervention when it has been to its interests. you have to got back in history to the tashkan agreement even before that to the duncan sands intervention. there is what one says and there is what one does and i think the u.s. can behind the scenes play a very critical role in helping both sides see the advantage of working out on very practical issues and for the u.s. to provide the wherewithal and the international community to provide the intellectual support for efforts such as updating the water treaty or
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trying to examine the possibility of offer a shared electric grid in a manner that power can be equalized and used and commonly owned by them in the border regions. there are all these possibilities which would not threaten one country or the other and, would still retain their sovereignty. i think trudy's question is really critical. where can one make headway? what's chiefable? it's a question of trying. yes i agree that the three-party support for the carolinas is much greater but there are other members of congress also and the thing is we haven't seen the effort being made. there is this issue, and somebody immediately brings up a stop sign and says you can't do that. all the facts that are
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available haven't opinion properly shared with members of congress. i refer to the cgd study. it is a very brief study. i think even busy congressman will be able to read it, just two or three pages. i think that is the kind of education that needs to be done. it is in the interest of the u.s. to give pakistan the same break it gives european allies in terms of access to u.s. markets. >> when we have the bellagio discussions one of the i don't kay consensus items, one item which several of us agreed, i say four or five of the group as we talked about it was the role of india in shaping pakistan's future. to put it in simple blunt terms, india steers the pakistan army or india's perception of army steers and the army steers pakistan. if you want to make change in pakistan which i think would be india's interest,
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kind of changes i would like to see, also in india's interest, you have to deal with the india, pakistan relationship. i think a couple of people understand that. maybe the prime minister or a few others. mumbai was designed to destroy the india-pakistan dialogue. whatever the u.s. should do, might do, behind the scenes standing upside down we do to re-establish that dialogue. our response shouldn't be india is important for containing china to the east and pakistan is porn because it is muslim country to the west. i think that is defeatist thinking. that is the wrong kind of thinking. the two areas where i think the u.s. could be more proactive one would be in afghanistan because there are india and pakistani interests are identical. that is they both want a moderate afghan government to emerge out of this chaos. however it is done it is in the interest of the pakistan army even though they support taliban.
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it is interesting to see a neighbor to their east or west, pardon me. they are afraid of the blow back from afghanistan. india is obsessed with the notion after talibanized pakistan. now we stopped talking about a regional solution for afghanistan. i do think that the obama administration mentioned when it first came in. i think we should go back to the idea. the bonn idea. bringing in iranians although painful for us, to neutralize afghanistan in such a way to be left alone to develop on its own. indian cooperation in afghanistan would be welcomed for pakistan. we would have to be monitor plus nato of role of each in afghanistan. i think that is doable and kind of strategic thinking i haven't seen in washington and rest of the obama administration. the other, yeah the other thing i would point out is that indians aregy beginning to think what a failed pakistan would look like.
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they discuss the idea of with a degree of shout and fright. at last my enemy is going collapse. when they think bit, 100 pakistani nuclear weapons not aimed at united states but probably india is the first target they begin to question whether this is a good idea or not. of course the turmoil would ensue should hundreds of thousands millions of pakistanis would migrate back to india. thoughtful indians understand the collapse of pakistan which we do not predict, let me make that point clear. we've seen five years. might see more loosening of pakistan but not the disintegration of pakistan, that is not good for india. a normal relationship with pakistan is in india's interest. i think it is not beyond human emergency nation to conceive of a india would be part of the strategy to stablize pakistan. the countries that deal with pakistan i underestimated chinese influence. i think long run chinese are interested in stable pakistan, not north korea which is uncontrolable which
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runs the risks of war with its neighbors. but clearly indians have a role to play here also. >> i just want to pick up trudy's question about what is achievable and what is realistic. the results of last november's elections i think are pretty clear to all of us. that the congress of the united states is now going to be divided. it is going to be very difficult to get anything positive achieved. i think the administration is going to face a very tough battle holding onto kerry lugar. if you look at u.s. foreign assistance today, most american foreign assistance goes to three countries leaving aside the war zones. israel, i don't think they're going to cut aid to israel. egypt? that could be a big mother lode in the next couple of weeks but i think that would be a huge mistake and everyone is going to realize that. and pakistan. pakistan is going to be very vulnerable. the reality of pakistani behavior makes it extremely
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vulnerable. that's one of the reasons why i think it is so important that the pakistani government, when the president comes here, and when obama goes to pakistan, provide opportunities for very serious conversations both in public and in private. and i think the public ones in this case are going to be much more important than the private ones in talking to congressional audiences and public audiences leer. and in talking to public audiences in pakistan. there are a lot of things that can be done that don't require legislative approval. how we organize the united states government is a function of the executive branch. ironically south asia bureau, in the department of state was actually legislative required. in 1992, steve solars, who may have had some bad ideas in his life had at least a couple of really good ideas
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in his life. one was south asia should be split off from the near east bureau of the state department where it was always second-class citizen and made its own bureau. the then secretary of state, james baker, requested george bush to veto the legislation because it had that in it. fortunately brent scowcroft had the brains enough to say this is nuts. we can not veto the united states department of state's legislative enactment over a question of what bureaus the state department will create. i think we should now remember the legacy of steve solars and go back to having a strong south asia bureau. good organization does not necessarily mean good policy bad organization makes good policy very, very hard to do. there are other things that the executive can do and as i said, in my remarks the symbolism of how we, how we host pakistani president and how our president travels to
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pakistan is very very, important. i want to say a couple words about the india question. i think steve is absolutely right. indians are now thinking seriously, really for the first time about what failure next door looks like. and i think zinc understands his -- singh. understanding of glorious golden age 20th century doesn't happen if a pakistan next door is failed state or worse a. >> -- jihadist state. restoring indknow conversations will be very hard to do. my last point is about american diplomacy. we weren't going to convince anybody in south asia in january 2009 to listen to anything we were saying about trying to improve the region when we were on the
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verge of catastrophic military defeat in afghanistan and the universal assumption was the taliban were worried on the purge of victory or united states was on the verge of cutting and running. that perception i think has begun to change. we actually unfortunately gave it additional shelf life when we talked about july 2011 as the date for which departure from afghanistan was going to come. i think the administration in their last policy review has very carefully and very skull philly changed the timeline. 2014 is now the timeline that people are focusing on. and i think that is the right timeline and again, as i said, if david petraeus is half right that he is starting to turn the corner, that opens the door to all kind of different american policies rand different diplomacy that were frankly impossible when it looked like we were on the verge of defeat in afghanistan. let's take a couple more questions. >> all right.
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you guys had mentioned relationship between india and pakistan and the importance of symbolism but the elephant in the room is kashmir. i was wondering what the u.s. policy should be towards kashmir and is there any confidence-building measures in the interim or the short run the u.s. can use to engage india and pakistan to have some dialogue on that issue? >> when you have someone with a british accent representing department of state i felt i couldn't let moeed's allegation of complete inco americans of america in the region go unchallenged. just a brief word i think about, conversation and about structures. i think there is actually a adherence to engagement on south asia from within the state department and across the interagency. every week the discussion of afghanistan and pakistan has presently the assistant secretary of south asia, bob blake, representing both
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border equities. people from my office, office of special representative of again began and pakistan we have been to delhi and other regions and extra regions can capitals to discuss policy on afghanistan and pakistan. to somehow not a connection would be belied by the both the state department and nsa and other inner parts of the agency. one additional historical facet the my understanding of creation of central command was derived from the iran problem and iranian revolution but actually prior to the late the 1970s, early 1980s pacific command included both india and pakistan and really some of military contingencies planning for whatever one might do vis-a-vis iran in the 1980s led to restructuring some of the military command around that. i question my question to the panel linked to this object i think the administration would share
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any way about strategic stability in south asia linking to your indication, bruce of do no harm. what do you think of in terms of pursuit of that goal of strategic strablt in -- stability in south asia would cross the very principle you set up in the beginning trying to do no harm in policy making? >> well the dreaded k word has been put on the table. i'm going to ask both of my colleagues to speak to the kashmir issue if you like and to the no harm issue as well. >> i think the no harm issue was addressed to you, bruce. [laughter] i would be happy to address kashmir. i happen to believe that kashmir does have another very critical participant which is the kashmirri people. for too long pakistanis and indians have been talking that if the kashmiries don't
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exist. i think now they realize they do exist and they are asserting themselves and that is the recognition that the u.s. should help strengthen. whatever solution emerges will have to emerge in organic fashion over time among the people of kashmir and then between india and pakistan. some indication of this was evident in the discussions that president musharraf had when he was trying to poll relationships between india and pakistan. that kashmir was basically set aside and the whole idea was to let it take its own part in and not try to first solve the kashmir problem and then solve all the other problems. so i don't think there is a simple solution. i don't think that the idea of a independent kashmir can
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be strategically laid on the table but certainly kashmir could be a very useful catalyst for opening borders between india and pakistan, for opening trade because the natural trade routes from kashmir to india traditionally went through pakistan and the rivers flowed from kashmir into pakistan and they can be used as a means of collaborating. so i think kashmir is a great opportunity within the context of india-pakistan trade and open borders. >> couple of years ago i was, whenever i'm asked i was asked i would say kashmir should be subordinated to other concerns which are important and i would always come up with water and environmental issues. then of course the islamists in pakistan and military picked up, started treating water as if it was kashmir with same emotional intense
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feeling. so clearly that doesn't work either. but i think that to find areas where they have strategic interest and common i think afghanistan is one of them. might begin there, rather than the toughest one which is kashmir. when you're dealing with cash mesh dealing with the two of the most recalcitrant bureaucracies of the world, isi in pakistan and ministry of external affairs in india. notion of getting them to talk about anything is outrageous. i think that is not going to happen. so i would begin with things other than kashmir. the united states should have its own views on kashmir. a lot of things are going on in both parts of kashmir are not terribly attractive. we should speak up and talk about this. what most pakistanis want, what most indians want and most kashmiris want is justice. whatever the shape the government takes we should be interested and follow it but obviously we should not attempt to come up with a solution and impose it on the regional states. >> may i say one more word about kashmir because i
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agree with what has been said but it goes back to the president's trip. the president is going to have to articulate, he is going to have to say something about kashmir when we get there the entire department of state and national security council can write a million memos saying we don't want to go into this in public but there is ugly reality that is called a press conference. journalists have the capacity to raise questions which you can not just simply ignore and this administration is going to have to have something to say about kashmir and i think that he has given us a good way thinking about it, we ought to start talking a little bit about the kashmiri people and how to make their lives something better than what it has been for the last 50 years. do no harm, i think there are many, many, many things that we can do that can make the situation worse. i alluded to one i which want to be more specific about. how we deal with pakistani army and how we deal with the chief of army staff.
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i don't know the ins and outs of how general kayani got unprecedented three-year extension in duty but i have heard from a number of source that is the united states was not exactly a neutral party in that hole decision. i think that is unfortunate. i think we should have been a neutral party. that should not have been something in which we had a role to play. the traditional approach is always, well, you know we're better with the deaf develop we know than the devil we don't know. general kayani is a devil we really don't know very much about and i feel we'll have buyer's remorse as we go down the road. should be a pakistani decision, not an american decision and we should stay out of it. the other area of harm is something people have brought up before and i raise again. the question of drones. the drones is a very, very, very, difficult policy decision for this
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white house. we have very have you means of putting real, sustained pressure on al qaeda and its allies in the federally administered tribal areas. the drones work. they do put pressure on them. there are numerous ways of seeing that look at mr. ayman al-zawahiri. he used to be the catty chatty of international terrorism. he put out a statement every couple weeks. in 2010 he put out four statements in the course of the entire year and two of them were less than a half minute in length. going to be very interesting to see how long it takes mr. zawahiri to say something about what is going on in cairo. it is already quite intriguing that cairo which should be the, you had is be the issue that has gotten him to the microphone already so far we haven't heard a word. i think we will hear a word. my point is this, we have disrupted his ops tempo with
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the drones but the drones as many people have already alluded to in this conference also carry very heavy counterproductive impact. whether 120 women and children are killed in every drone strike is irrelevant. what is relevant what pakistanis think. and the very rare danger that we face with the drones is drone addiction. to get to the point where the drones are the solution to a problem which they will never be the solution to. there are tactical instrument. they're an incredibly scientific, 21st century platform but they're not a strategy. they're just a platform. and we need to make sure that we don't become drone addicted because that in the end will cause more harm than all the good that the drones do. this is tough, tough call and i'm glad that i don't have to make that decision. i'm glad that president obama has to make that decision and i have great sympathy for how he is trying to balance that every single day. i hope he bears in mind he
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does have to balance it almost every single day. more questions? i guess not. >> excellent. thank you very much, bruce, steve and for very exciting discussion. we threatened to be ahead of time on a panel on pakistan which is quite impressive. what i would do is very quickly sum up in a couple of minutes. then i would request bill taylor and steve for a vote of things in the end but we should end within the next 10 minutes or some i think what comes out clearly, it is very difficult to sum up perhaps but there's been a lot of talk about the politics and economy within pakistan. i mean we've talked a lot, if i were to try and sum up about the domestic implications in that pakistan has to do a lot more on that front.
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the military has been brought up again and again and of course this question of whether the political dispensations will continue. if you look in history, the military in pakistan is really responded to something on the street or perhaps something where they see things not going in the right direction. will that happen again or not? a lot depends i think as, issues, how shuja mentioned. we talked about the extremist and islamist threat which is vital to u.s. interests and to pakistan itself. and i think there is a very vibrant and divisive debate going on right now in pakistan on this very issue. that was brought out. and then somebody before this panel began came up to see me and said how come there is no conversation about india and kashmir. so here we are. so the panel has talked a lot about this. i think that really sums up the sentiment here which it
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may be the silver bullet we need to look at. the other two points i thought came out was with due apologies to alex, no consensus in washington still. not me saying but i think the sense that we got is washington needs to think much more what we need from pakistan and how we're going to get that. i think i completely agree when alex and others say a lot is being done. perhaps that is an indication just how great this challenge is to get pack stand and the u.s. on the -- pakistan and the u.s. on the same page. there was a sense that there are tension. there are different views how much washington should be involved. should it be involved to the point where it should see all things are going in the direction it wants them to or should it take a back seat and perhaps general kayani's appointment should be one example. i before i leave all of us before i ask for a word of thanks on optimistic note which i did not hear even
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once that the u.s. and pakistan should chart their own courses and find their own futures. i think it comes up very clearly that everybody is talking about and struggling to figure out what the best way forward is in the sense that this partnership continues and is best for both countries involved. and i think that is quite optimistic because that's the last thing perhaps would be if we lose that, that drive to keep these two countries going forward. let me ask ambassador bill taylor, who is the vice president of the center for conflict management under which pakistan false at usip could give a few closing rargs. then steve, if you want to close. >> steve if you would like to. please. >> thank you, moeed. i first like to thank you and all the participants in the bellagio meeting for what was a great meeting. bellagio produced a wonderful set of papers. let me comment and say for the past four or five years i've had to warn audiences
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as i spoke on pakistan i say you're going to be more depressed when the meeting finishes than when you came in. in this case you've been preloaded in a sense to understand that we've got a country in deep trouble in american policy also in deep trouble. i think there is realistic assessment to the degree which pakistan has problems. the degree to which america can respond to those problems. i don't feel as pessimistic after this meeting as i felt after many others. thank you. >> i was going to say exactly that. i was prepared to be very pessimistic about this. i heard people on this panel and others speak about this and it didn't sound very hopeful but there are some things that came out of this discussion that give one hope and not the least of which is this time frame. there is a time frame change in the last couple of months that i think will give not just the afghanistan problem time to move forward but also the related problems we talked about here today. so here we are, three minutes in advance.
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let me thank everybody. please join me in thanking both steve and moeed for the work they have done and their teams. thank you very much for coming. [applause] >> the c-span networks. provide coverage of politics, public affairs, nonfiction books and american history. it's all available to you on television, radio, online, an on social media networking sites and find our content any time through c-span video library. we take c-span on the road with our digital bus and local content vehicle. bringing our resources to your community. it's washington your way, the c-span networks. now available in more than 100 million homes, created by cable, provided as a public service.
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>> u.s. senate gaveling in momentarily littlely for a period of morning business and general speeches. that will last up to 12:30 eastern. the senate will break from 12:30 to 2:15 for their weekly party lunches. at 2:15 the senate is expected to proceed to the faa reauthorization bill, amendments and roll call votes are possible. also this morning we expect to hear from senator claire mccaskill of missouri on spending bill, reduction in spending bill she is introducing with senator bob corker that is set for about 10:45 eastern. now the u.s. senate on c-span2. o god, our father, we thank you that your mercies are new every morning. strengthen our senators to serve you in fulfillment of their
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sacred commitment. lord, give them kind thoughts, gentle words, and generous deeds. teach them that it is better to give than to receive. better to serve than be served. and better to forgive than to be bitter. give them such grace that they will obscure no truth, evade no duty, nor shrink from any sacrifice that will achieve justice and peace. we pray in your wonderful name. amen.
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the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c., february 1, 2011. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1, paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable jon tester, a senator from the state of montana, to perform the duties of the chair. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader.
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mr. reid: i ask unanimous consent that the call of the quorum be terminated. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: following leader remarks there will be period of morning business until 12:30 today. senators up until 12:30 will be allowed to speak for 10 minutes each. at 12:30 we're going to each have our weekly caucus meetings which we do every week. at 2:15 the senate will begin consideration of the federal aviation administration bill. senators with amendments to the bill should contact the bill managers. the senators will be notified when votes are scheduled. mr. president, a lot of people are talking this morning about the opinion of a judge in florida regarding his opinion on the health reform law. i want to just mention just very briefly about the law a little bit and then talk about the effort to take away the rights that are in the law that is prevalent in the land. the health reform bill has saved
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lives and saved lots of money. it's saving lives because children not getting their insurance taken away as happened before we passed the law. they can stay on their parents' health insurance plan until 26. younger kids can't get kicked off the plan because of preexisting condition condition like asthma or diabetes. older people are cover, they can have a wellness check for nothing. it doesn't cost anything much which means as far as the medicare doughnut hole, it means that seniors can finally afford the prescription drugs that they had to skip or split before we passed this law. it's saving money. last week we saw how much this law is helping cut down on fraud on the health insurance industry. we've recovered more tha than $4 billion so far and the law will keep cracking down on those who try to take advantage. and small businesses in nevada and across the country they're cutting taxes for business
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that's give their employees health care. these consequences to the health reform law, i mentioned only a few of them, saves lives, saves money and saves medicare as we promised are just the tip of the iceberg. it will do even more good, even more lives and money will be saved. it's important to remember this context as we talk about the opinion handed down yesterday in florida. two federal judges have ruled in favor of lawsuit. two have ruled against it. lawsuits and lawmakers' efforts to repeal this bill is nothing more than an attempt to raise taxes on small businesses at more than $1.05 -- ad add $1.5 trillion to the deficit and let insurance companies stand in the way of a child for medical care he or she needs. we've put patients in control of their health care. repeal would put insurance companies back in charge. we can't afford it.
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not with our wallets and not with our lives and health. let me spend just a minute on jobs, mr. president. the health reform bill is about jobs. i was visiting with someone from george washington university in there -- in their medical department. and as i walked in, she said, you know, because of the health care bill, we're going to hire 500 new physicians. it went back and -- i went back and told my staff that. they said, no, that couldn't be true. i had my staff check with the woman who told me that. it's true. that's just one facility. also about jobs. mr. president, we need to look to future. democrats are working to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. we're starting today with the first jobs bill of this congress. this bill, which will modernize americans air travel creates and protects more than 280,000 jobs. we're improving the infrastructure and reducing
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costly delays. we're going to have a passengers bill of rights. this is the kind of commonsense solution that creates jobs while making our economy more efficient while making america more competitive. this is a bipartisan bill. we need to start strengthening our future. we're ready to get to work to get the american people back to work and i'm hopeful an confident our republican colleagues will join us in starting with this jobs bill on the floor today. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, it's no secret that most americans oppose the health care bill that democrats swammed through congress last -- jammed through congress last march. it's also no secret that democrats would like to move past it. but the fact is, the more americans learn about this bill, the less they like it and the
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more urgent it becomes for those to repeal and replace it to follow through. opposition to the bill continues to build and when two federal courts in a row rule that this bill is unconstitutional, and we learn every day of some other way it's not only making health care worse, but also hurting jobs and the economy, it's no wonder more americans support repeal than oppose it. and that the percentage of those who say they support full repeal is higher now than ever. americans are outraged that the promises they were made -- that were made about this bill have turned out to be empty. court rulings like the one out of florida only add to the urgency of scrapping this bill and starting over. leave aside for a moment all the broken promises. the first requirement of this law or any law that it at least be constitutional. this bill apparently fails to meet that basic test. and as yesterday's ruling
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concluded, it can't be fixed. this entire bill hinges on its core requirement that every citizen purchase health insurance. if that's unconstitutional and two courts in a row now say that it is, then the whole thing needs to be scrapped. but, of course, we knew that already based on all the other chaos this bill has wrought. let's review. the president said as recently as last week this bill would slow rising health care costs, that it would bend the cost curve down, yet, just two days later his own actuary at the centers for medicare and medicaid services said that the federal health spending bill would rise by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years as a result of this bill. the president said again and again that americans would be able to keep the plan they had, yet, again this bill's passage, business after business has announced it would rather pay a fine to the government than
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cover the health insurance costs to employees that would grow under the new mandates and regulations and millions of seniors are expected to lose access to comair advantage plans they know -- medicare advantage plans they know and like. last week the president said this law will lower premiums, since its passage we hear the opposite. insurers across the country are raising premiums to cover the costs of all the new mandates they'll have to comply with. one insurer in california recently stunned policyholders by announcing it would be increasing rates by as much as 59% for tens of thousands of customers starting next month. hikes are also expected in iowa, vermont, and connecticut. in washington state one father of five was recently told hi his $535 monthly premium could nearly triple next year. he said that when he heard the news, he just sat back and said, you've got to be kidding me.
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it's a good way to sum up how many americans have felt about this bill all along. and that's to say nothing of the effect this bill has had on the economy and jobs. despite empty promises we've heard from politicians about this bill being a job creator, we continue to hear just the opposite from businesses themselves. job creators are telling us that all of the bills new mandates and feeand fees are stifling bus and make it even harder are for them to start hiring again. the national federation of independent business says that if it bill stays in tact, it will stifle the ability of businesses to hire, grow, and investment. simply put, the nfib said in a recent letter, congress must repeal this bill immediately. to take just one example, abbott laboratories said last week it plans to cut nearly 2,000 jobs in response to changes in the
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health care industry including this bill. and as i said, yesterday ruling out of florida only adds to the urgency of repeal. if it weren't enough that this bill increases health care costs, increases insurance premiums an leaving people to lose coverage they already have and like, it's also unconstitutional. something that many opponents of the bill, including me, have been arguing all along. the state can no more compel americans to buy health insurance under the constitution than it can compel them to buy vitamins. even if it concluded they'd be good for our health. while congress may have the power to regulate commercial activity, no court in our nation's history has ever interpreted that to mean that congress can regulate commercial inactivity. congress's regulating commercial inactivity as well which is precisely what the health care bill would do. most americans have opposed this
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bill from the start because they were skeptical of all the claims being made about what it would do. the process used to jam it through made it even less popular. but the reality has been even worse than people feared. it violates the constitution which is reason enough to repeal it. it's driving up premiums, increasing costs and driving people off the plans they had and americans are just as outraged by the special waivers the administration is giving out to select groups. it was a by the special deals -- i mean the select waivers are reminiscent of the special deals that were made, mr. president, to get this bill passed in the first place. in other words, the implementation of the bill is no better than the process used to pass it. at this point it would be a dereliction of duty it republicans didn't fight for repeal. we made a promise to our constituents that we would vote to repeal this bill on their behalf and that's just what we intend to do. the importance of a repeal vote
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becomes more evident every day. americans view it as an important decision point, a marker that shows we're serious about a return to limited government. on that point it should be clear where republicans stand. every one of us voted against the bill. every one of us voted for repeal after that. and this week every republican reaffirmed his or her commitment to do so again. democrats made a lot of promises about this bill. virtually every one has proved to be empty. republicans have made one promise: that we would work to repeal it and replace it with commonsense reforms that lower costs, protect job creation and that people actually want. it's a promise we will keep. mr. president, on one other issue.
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mr. mcconnell: we have entered our tenth year of fighting in afghanistan, and we can never express our gratitude enough to the heroic men and women of our armed forces who continue the battle there. many of them, nearly wist of all u.s. forces in that country, are from units in kentucky -- fort campbell, fort knox, the kentucky national guard, the marine corps and the reserves. i recently led a congressional delegation to the region and spent some time in afghanistan to see up close the progress our forces are making there in clearing out the taliban and creating the opportunity for afghan security forces to assume greater responsibility. during my visit, i had the honor of meeting many of our service members from kentucky. i told them that we're proud of them, we support them, we thank them for their service, and we
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pray for their safe return. forces in afghanistan from kentucky units number more than 18,000 strong. they have seen much military success, but in the process, many have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. the 101st airborne division based out of fort campbell and known as the screaming eagles endured a particularly hard year, losing more than 100 soldiers since last march. in fact, nearly one out of five american lives lost in afghanistan in the past year has been lost from the 101st. the men and women who stood beside them honor their sacrifice by continuing the fight. after a long deployment, many of the soldiers from the 101st are due to return home over the next few months. just as their brothers in arms from fort knox are deployed. about 3,500 soldiers from the third brigade combat team first
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infantry division and the 703rd explosive ordnance disposal attachment will arrive in afghanistan in the next few weeks or are already there. it's the biggest deployment from fort knox since world war ii. hundreds of service members from the kentucky air and army national guard are performing critical missions in afghanistan as well. the 123rd airlift wing, the 2123rd transportation company, the 20th special forces group and a kentucky guard agricultural development team have all recently sent men and women to fight, some who have served as many as six tours. it was my honor to meet some of these brave warriors in person this month when i visited the headquarters of the 101st air force division at bagram air base in afghanistan, and also during my stop at camp levenneck
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in the southern part of that country, the outpost for a number of kentucky marines. these extraordinary men and women leave their loved ones thousands of miles behind and put on their country's uniform every day with their lives in the balance. they have seen their friends and fellow soldiers and marines make the ultimate sacrifice, and yet they fight on to accomplish a difficult mission, and they continue to make their country, the commonwealth of kentucky and this senator very proud. when we honor our service members, we also honor their families who endure the long months with a loved one gone and in harm's way. this country would not have the finest fighting force in the world without their sacrifice and support as well. its -- it's brave service members like the ones i got to meet who keep this country free. when both the senate and house of representatives met in joint session recently to hear the president deliver his state of the union address, we did so under the cloak of freedom that
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these heroes provide. america is grateful for their service and for their sacrifice. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the leadership time is reserved. under a previous order, the senate will be in a period of morning business until 12:30 p.m. with senators permitted to speak for up to ten minutes each. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from tennessee. mr. corker: mr. president, thank you. i'm glad to be here today with the senator from missouri, my friend, claire mccaskill. we today are introducing a bill called the commitment to american prosperity act, the cap act. it is a 10-page bill designed to limit spending here in washington and set our country back on a sustainable fiscal path. mr. president, i'd like to announce that we have cosponsors in senator alexander, senator burr, senator mccain, senator
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isakson, senator chambliss, senator inhofe and senator kirk, and i want to thank them for joining us in this effort, and i hope that many more will do the same. mr. president, i spent a lifetime in business and i came to the united states senate not to score political points, not to be involved in messaging, but to solve our country's problems. i think everybody in this body understands that we have tremendous fiscal and financial issues to deal with in this country. this morning, i was happy to see that 3 senators met over at the visitor's center on both sides of the aisle to listen to people involved in the financial industry talking about the path that we're on and what that's going to lead to as far as the ruination of our fiscal situation in this country and our ability to borrow money at low rates as we are today, and all of us know what that will mean to citizens of this country. mr. president, i think there is no one in this country that
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doesn't understand how problematic our financial situation is. i know the congressional budget office just said that this year alone, we're going to have have $1.5 trillion in budget deficits, and i think all ofs -- of us, everyone in this body is very aware we cannot continue on. for that reason, senator mccaskill and i have crafted a 10-page bill. it's a very simple bill. it does a lot in it, there are not a lot of whereases. its purpose is to do two things. one is to cap spending relative to our economy. mr. president, i think most people understand that when we look at the economies and countries of this world, people look at the amount of spending that their federal governments do relative to their economic output. i know senator mccaskill's husband is a businessman, and when he looks at the amount of debt that he has in his company, he looks at that in relation to the revenues of that company and
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the amount of income that he has in his ability to pay that debt. that's the way the world looks at the health of countries. mr. president, for the last four years, this is the post entitlement period, our country has been spending 20.6% of our country's gross domestic product or economic output at the federal level. i think, mr. president, everybody knows that right now, we are way above that number, at over 24%. so, mr. president, again, not to try to create some messaging tool but to really solve this problem, senator mccaskill and i have joined together to say that we need to get back to the norm over a ten-year period, on a glide path that takes us back to fiscal health and takes us back to that 20.6% of our economy being spent at the federal level. what it does is it does a multiyear averaging so we can
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make sure that economic differentials don't create volatility so we know exactly what those targets are in advance so we can go about our work in appropriations in a very methodical and thoughtful way. mr. president, in addition to that, it creates something called sequestration. what that means is if congress does not have the courage -- which we recently have not shown -- if congress does not have the courage to do things that it needs to do to go ahead and make those cuts to live within this glide path that we have laid out, then sequestration will take place. the office of management and budget at the end of the year, at 45 days after the end of the year, we have not done those things that we need to do to make sure that we're on this glide path, then they will on a pro rata basis take money out of the accounts of both mandatory and nonmandatory spending. in addition to that, if there is
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an emergency that comes up, it would take a two-thirds vote by both houses of congress to overcome those spending limits. mr. president, to my knowledge, this is the first time, the first time in the entitlement era that we have ever tried to put in place a total spending limit on government. so many of us around here talk about discretionary spending, and i think all of us know that discretionary spending is only -- is less than a third of all federal spending, and i think all of us know that if we don't redesign the programs, the entitlement programs that are about two-thirds of our spending at the federal level, then there is no way for us to deal appropriately with this. so for this reason, this bill would kick in -- if implemented, would kick in in 2013, giving us time to redesign the entitlement programs, especially medicare and social security, so that we know that they're here for future generations, so that we know that seniors have the
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benefits that they need. mr. president, this is the first time we would be putting everything on the table in a global or comprehensive way as we looked at the federal budget. i will close by this. mr. president, simply, this bill will cause us to live within our means. it will make us as we should have been doing all along -- by the way, mr. president, i want to emphasize, the problem we find ourselves in today is not a republican problem or a democratic problem. both parties have contributed to the situation that we're in, but what this bill would require us to do is to set priorities. it would mean that we would have to ensure that programs are being run as effectively and efficiently as possible. i know our main cosponsor, senator mccaskill, has spent a lot of time looking at waste and abuse within our federal government. and, mr. president, one of the best things about this bill is if you want to limit spending
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relative to the country's economic output, then it's obviously easier to do so if the economy is growing. so what that would do is mean that both parties would be joined at the hip to put in place policies that promote economic growth. mr. president, again, i close by saying that i thank senator mccaskill for her courage in stepping forthwith me and others on this bill. it's my hope that we'll have people from both sides of the aisle that would join in this effort. again, this is being put forth as a serious bill. it's a bill that has no ideology base, simply a bill to solve a problem. we're going to a 40-year average of spending relative to our country's gross domestic product. we're not trying to do things differently than they have been done in the past, but i think both of us know that we have not had the courage in recent times
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to live within our means, to set priorities as they need to be set, and i think this bill is something that will take us towards that end. we have a very monumental vote that will be taking place a little bit later this year regarding the debt ceiling, and i think all of us know that -- that it would be irresponsible not to be responsible prior to that debt ceiling, and so, mr. president, we offer this bill as a responsible way to put us on a glide path towards a place that is reasonable for this country, giving us time to redesign the programs that need to be redesigned, and it's my hope, mr. president, that this bill or something of this nature will pass prior to this debt ceiling vote. it's also my hope, mr. president, that we'll already go -- we will go ahead and vote on actual cuts to the federal budget prior to that time so that we can show the markets around the world and show the american people that we have the ability to work together to solve what i think
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is our most pressing domestic issue, and that is getting our fiscal house in order. with that, mr. president, i thank you for the time. i want to thank again senator mccaskill. she has been a leader on fiscal issues since she has been here, and i yield the floor to her at this moment. mrs. mccaskill: thank you, mr. president. like my colleague, i am appreciative of the work that he has done on this issue, and we have been talking about this for a number of weeks and our staffs have been hammering out the details. i think that this moment this morning -- in fact, i will be very candid. as i left my office, some members of my staff said well, okay, good luck walking that plank. we'll see how it work out for you, because this is politically risky, what the senator and i are trying to do. and as i was riding over here on the tram to make this speech, i
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got a text message from one of my kids, and all of a sudden it became very clear to me what this is like. this is like saying no when you're a parent. and it is so easy to say yes to your kids. when they want something, when they want to do something that you think is risky, the easiest thing in the world to do is to say yes. when they want money, when they want to have a new car when they want to borrow your car, when they want to go spend the night at a friend's that you don't know very well, when they want to stay out later, when they want this, that, they want to go to the mall. it's so easy to say yes. it doesn't take a lot of time. makes them happy. you feel good. but there's always that voice in your head that says, if i'm going to be a good parent, sometimes it's more important to
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say no. well, we have a bunch of people in congress that have made a lifetime career of saying yes. i understand it. you know -- you know, we run for office around here. we want everyone to be happy with us. we want everyone to love us. we don't want to disappoint anyone. we don't want there to be controversy about the decisions we make. so how do we avoid the controversy? we say yes. we say yes. and we've said yes and yes and yes and yes and yes and yes and yes until we find ourselves at this point in our history. -- history where our unwillingness to say no, our unwillingness to embrace controversy and political risk has led us to an economic brink, a place where if we don't do something that's going to make some people angry, that's going to cause some negative ads to be
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run against us, that we really are doing our job as stewards much and that's all we are here. we're passing through. we aren't entitled to these jobs. we borrowed these jobs. they belong to the american people. and we have a responsibility as stewards to say no now -- to say no. now, i remember when i used to tell my kids, it's so much easier to tell you yes. and they said, well, it's easier for you. easier for me. i said the right thing for me to do is to say no. they said, well, that's not easier for us. and that's beginning to be what's happening around here. i noticed some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, we're going to cut, cut, cut. and now it's bubbling up, all the people saying, no, you can't cut our subsidy. can't cut the oil company subsidy, you can't cut the farm program. you can't cut this, you can't cut that. everyone is coming out of the
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woodwork to protect the spending that is embraced by our bad habit of saying yes. that's why this bill is necessary. this is like telling congress, you've got to be better parents. and if you can't muster the courage to say no, these cuts are going to happen anyway. it's like a discipline for us and i don't go here lightly. i don't go here without understanding the political risks involved, but i go here because i deeply believe it is necessary for our country. we cannot get control of the deficit if we do not control spending. and let me talk for a minute about debt and deficit. as i go out and talk to people, there are a lot of people who use those terms, in fact, they use them interchanged, the two terms and don't understand there's a big difference between the debt and the deficit. the deficit is like your monthly budget and not having enough money to come in to meet your monthly expenses. and we talk about the deficit on an annual basis, how much money
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is the government bringing in and how much money is going out? and when more is going out than coming in, we have a deficit. now, what happens to that deficit every year? it goes on our debt. it's like a family's mortgage. but instead of us paying down the mortgage every year, we keep adding to the mortgage every year. and that is why we now have a $1.4 trillion, $1.5 trillion deficit this year. we're going to spend that much more than we take in this year and we have $14 trillion in debt. that's the long-term mortgage our country has right now that we owe someone for. we have to pay. so we have to get ahold of this debt. now, i want to compliment the president of the united states because the short-term spending stuff is important. and i want to complement senator
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sessions. he and i have worked on short-term spending caps for the last year, for over a year. but now it's time for us to look at long-term discipline and what we can do to get our country on a glide path where we're no longer precariously on the edge of being the strongest power in the world. our deficits are understandable and our debt is out of control. this bill takes a very measured approach, gives us time to figure things out. it's not like the ridiculous proposal over in the house that we're going to cut $2.5 trillion this year. anybody who thinks that's going to happen, i've got like a tu-tu you need to wear down the hall tomorrow. that's a ridiculous proposal. that's impossible to do. but this bill, this is possible and responsible. this puts us on a glide path to say to the american people that our spending is going to be capped at a certain percentage of our economy activity this -- in this country. that is possible and it is
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responsible and we should do. it. now -- do it. now, who's to blame? let's be honest how we got here. the biggest factor in our deficit in the last two years is our poor economy. i know, i know. you would think it's the stimulus. you would think it's tarp. it's not. political cheap shots, but not true. the biggest fiscal hole that we are facing is because of the poor economy. the biggest increase in spending in the last two years, well, you would think it is the auto bailout or the bank bailout or the stimulus or -- it's not. you know what the biggest increase in spending was over the last two years? unemployment benefits because of our bad economy. that was the biggest increase in spending over the last two years.
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our fiscal hole has grown primarily because of a bad economy over the last two years. but there also have been bad decisions by both parties over the last decade. when clinton left office, our debt -- he may have been running a surplus in terms of a deficit, but our debt was $5.6 trillion. when bush left it went from $ $5.7 trillion to -- and today it is $14 trillion. over the past decade we've had two wars that we didn't bother to pay for. a brand-new medicare entitlement, brand spanking new that wasn't means tested. we're buying warren buffett prescription drugs. go figure. like we're busted and we're buying multihundred million dollar billionaires prescription drugs and we didn't bother to pay for it and increases in discretionary spending by both parties that increased -- that
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increased our deficit and exceeded inflation. i want to talk a minute for the boogieman of the tarp and the stimulus. i'm so sick of being blamed. it is so wrong and factually incorrect. we have tax cuts that go on forever that have contributed to this. we have wars that we're fighting that contributed to this. we have entitlement programs that aren't paid for, but the stimulus was a one-time expenditure. it's not something that goes on. it has no tail. anyone who understand economics and understands the balance sheet of the united states government knows this problem is not the stimulus. one-third of the stimulus was tax cuts. the last time i looked, unpaid for tax cuts was the way of the world. one-third of the stimulus was tax cuts. and another one-third of it almost was unemployment benefits. that's not the problem. and tarp, let's be honest, it was a genius decision in many
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ways because it stablized owl financial sector -- our financial sector and cost us a mere fraction of the money that was used on a temporary basis to make sure that our economy did not twist down the drain it was a likely to do -- it was a likely to do had president bush not intervened with his economic team to ask us on a bipartisan basis to do something that was in the best interest of our nation. now, we can move on as to who's to blame because now we have to talk about tomorrow's problems. and i am proud that the president is dealing with short-term spending by his sprees. i am proud that he is working on earmarks and all of the other things that are a symptom of the disease around here. but really our challenge is long-term spending. in the long term, spending is going to drive the debt up even
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higher. medicare and medicaid cuts are going to double by 2021, social security is going to increase by 70% by 2021. i'm -- mr. president, i'd ask unanimous consent for three more minutes. the presiding officer: without objection. mrs. mccaskill: thank you. we've got to look at those issues and make sure that on a bipartisan basis we do what's responsible. we've got to make sure these programs, medicare, medicaid, and social security are stable and secure for my children and their chain. -- and their children. if we can't agree even on the modest measures like the three-year discretionary spending cap that senator sessions and i have been pushing for for over a year, i question whether we have the discipline to do the hard work. getting control of spending is very, very hard. but we have to do it and we have to do it now. the first and foremost thing we need to focus on is eliminating
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the waste an mismanagement. that's what drives americans crazy. it drives people crazy that we're spending money on duplicative programs and not seeing if they work. it drives people crazy that the government runs huge deficits and we're paying out improper payments to health and human services and improper payments to treasury to people who don't even qualify. it drives america crazy when we don't make the reforms that our auditors recommend. the defense department has 1,200 suggestions made by auditors on how to manage programs better and it has not acted on almost 1,200 of them. it drives people raisey that we're running deficits when we have the agriculture department and homeland security that gets failing grades for eight straight years. it drives people crazy when we're running deficits and passing appropriation bills with $15 billion worth of earmarks. i've been working hard to try to
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clean up all this waste. we've been working on contract management. i've never requested an earmark. i voted against every omnibus appropriation bill that's come to the floor since i've been a senator. i've worked hard with senator sessions to cap spending and now i look forward to working hard with senator corker and many of my republican -- many of my friends in the republican party to put a cap long term on spending in the federal government. as i say, this is a bold step. it has risks and if this bill is distorted and twisted, it could cost me my senate seat. say that -- i'll say that again. if this bill is distorted and twisted, it could cost my my senate seat. but it's a price i'm willing to pay it's a price i'm willing to pay for my country and, more importantly, it's a price i'm willing to pay for my grandchildren. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor.
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the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i -- i'm -- my remarks may take a little longer than 10 minutes, so i ask unanimous consent that i be allowed to deliver my remarks in full. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: thank you, mr. president. we've come a long way in one year. on december 24, 2009, one day before christmas, this body passed a radical overhaul of our nation's health care system. that's right. the majority passed obama care on christmas eve. it was not this body's finest moment. it was not the administration's finest moment. and i expect that this debate will go down in history for its persistent lack of attention to the considered views of ordinary americans. americans who rejected obama care's giant new entitlement expansions and the job-killing haphazardly to pay for them.
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it did not have to be this way. in the greatest fiscal collapse since the great depression, they wanted to focus on job creation. instead like teenagers set loose when mom and dad leave town, they did what they wanted to and focused on a government takeover of the nation's health care system. surprising, only the most ideologically driven support for obama care cratered during the town hall meetings of august 2009, the message was loud and clear, our health care system, and in particular the government policies that contribute to the unsustainable inflation in the health care sector might be in need of reform. but the solution to our problems is not additional government regulation and control of health care delivery by washington bureaucrats and the solution is most definitely not to be found in the billions of dollars of new taxes most of which will be passed through to american families in the form of higher
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premiums. for those who did not deliberately put on blinders, the wishes of their constituents were obvious. stop the push for obama care and move on to fixing the economy. but the senate did not listen. instead, by an administration that saw the great liberal dream of government-run health care slipping through, the long march continued. first the democratic majority cut short the finance committee's bipartisan negotiations. then heads down, the majority plowed forward on the floor, allowing no virtually meaningful amendments. and before going home for christmas, it passed the most sweeping reform of the nation's economy in over 70 years without a single republican vote. every democratic senator snored
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the bill. not one republican did, and for good reason. when obamacare passed the senate, its proponents assumed it was on the glide path to enactment, but the american people had a different idea. our national unemployment rate was 10.2%, the highest in 26 years. the american people understood that at a moment of historic economic challenges, the last thing the country needed was another budget-busting entitlement and sky-high taxes. and just about one month later, this message was delivered again in in a new shot heard across the world, our colleague, the senator from massachusetts, scott brown, was elected in a very clear referendum on the democrats' health bill. the verdict of the american people, if the previous summer's town halls left any doubt, was now crystal clear. the push for obamacare must end.
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yet, the administration refused to yield. they thought the people would eventually come to embrace the elegance of obamacare if only the messaging was better. americans would appreciate all of the good things that washington politicians and bureaucrats had to offer them. so after taking time to regroup and weigh their options, democrats decided to defy the american people yet again. a little over a year ago, the president hosted a summit at the white house and began his final push for his federalizing of american health care. the resulting display was ugly. americans already revolted by the deals cut in this chamber to secure the bare number of votes needed to pass the bill now witnessed historic arm twisting and desperate efforts in the house to deny the obvious, that obamacare represented an unprecedented intrusion of the federal government into the lives of citizens and clearly was a massive burden on the taxpayers. and so it passed and obamacare
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became law, and the administration set about writing the thousands of pages of regulations that would govern how american businesses provide health benefits to their employees. fast forward to november of 2010. the american people did not forget their snubbing by self-proclaimed progressive democrats who, in fact, ignored the will of the people at every opportunity during the obamacare debate. at voting booths across the country, they made clear to those congressmen and senators who provided the votes for this job-destroying health care bill that such high-handed, ill-liberal behavior was not acceptable in a democratic republic. fast forward one more time. yesterday, barely 13 months after obamacare passed the senate and less than one year since it became law, the entire scheme was struck down in federal court. in a triumph for both personal
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liberty and the american constitution, the individual mandate was found unconstitutional and obamacare was struck down. not part of obamacare. all of obamacare. not surprisingly, the administration and its special interest allies responded with the same derision toward ordinary american citizens that has been on display throughout the debate. instead of acknowledging the obvious, that obamacare represents a massive departure from any traditional understanding of limited government, white house officials went on the attack, calling the decision outside of the main stream and ridiculing its reasoning. why? really? millions and millions of americans believe the provisions essential to the operation of obamacare are unconstitutional intrusions on personal liberty that vastly expand the power of the federal government. they understand that the
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justification for the individual mandate by obamacare's proponents essentially removes any limits on the power of the federal government to regulate personal and economic decisions. 26 states participated in this challenge to obamacare. 32 members of this body, including myself, signed an amicus brief challenging the constitutionality of obamacare. but according to the administration's narrative, we are the ones who are out of the mainstream. the administration came into office buoyed by the goodwill of the american people and carrying banners of bipartisanship. two years later, after the politically disastrous decision to overhaul 1/7 of the nation's economy with virtually no republican support, they are blaming the victim. after a federal judge took on this tough issue -- or looked at this tough issue and determined
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that key elements of obamacare represented an unprecedented and unconstitutional expansion of the national government, the problem remains, as it always is for liberals: the people. their views are not just sophisticated enough to grasp obamacare's consistency with a government of limited and enumerated powers. the democrats continue to think that if only they focus group obamacare better, they will get the messaging right. the american people will learn to love it. i don't think so. the american people get it. they know, and i know my constituents in utah do. in an article yesterday in "politico," patrick gaddell and douglas shoen highlighted the reasons for the public's deepening disdain for obamacare. according to them, it is possible that no major piece of
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legislation has created the continued vehement public opposition that health care has provoked since the kansas-nebraska act of 1854. in their view, there is one big underlying factor that continues to cause many americans to oppose the health care bill. its passage was antidemocratic. if the republicans' campaign slogan of 1854 was crime against kansas, in 2010, that slogan would be crime against democracy. americans know that the senate bill was 2,074 pages long. they know that it authorized 70 new government programs. they know that it delegated regulatory power to the obama administration 1,697 times. they know that it cut cut $465 billion from medicare at a time when it already faced
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a $38 trillion unfunded liability. they know that the bill took from one already unsustainable entitlement to pay for a brand-new entitlement. they know that it raises -- it raised taxes by over over $550 billion, repeatedly violating the president's pledge not to raise taxes on middle-class families. they know that obamacare destroyed 695,000 american jobs -- or will destroy that many jobs at a time when millions of americans are looking for work. they know that the medicaid expansions threaten to bankrupt the states, with c.b.o. estimating that the medicaid expansion will cost american taxpayers $435 billion additional dollars over ten years. they know that the total cost of obamacare is $2.6 trillion
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extrapolated over ten years, and they know that we can't afford it. the american people aren't stupid. they understand these things. to borrow from justice scalia, the american people despite obamacare because the american people love democracy and the american people are not fools. they know that this law was enacted in a totally partisan manner and over the loud opposition of the majority of americans, and they know that the partisans promoting obamacare were not and are not forthright when they say that it is budget neutral. obamacare cuts $155 billion from hospitals. it cuts $202 billion from 11 million seniors on medicare advantage. it cuts nearly $15 billion from nursing homes. it cuts nearly $40 billion from
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home health agencies. it cuts nearly $7 billion from hospices. but these cuts don't go towards strengthening the medicare -- strengthening medicare, a program with catastrophic unfunded liabilities. rather, democrats poured the savings from these cuts back into a brand-new unsustainable entitlement program. furthermore, so-called comprehensive health care reform managed to neglect the pressing need for a permanent doc fix, yet c.b.o.'s most recent estimate is that a long-term doc fix freezing medicare payment rates at 2011 levels would raise the deficit by $249 billion. not counting an additional additional $53 billion in debt service obligations. not surprisingly, an associated press fact check of the president's state of the union address concludeed -- quote --
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"the idea that obama's health care law saves money for the government is based on some arguable assumptions." that might qualify for the understatement of the year so far. the likelihood that obamacare will not, as its advocates claim, save the government money was confirmed again in a hearing held last week by the c.m.s. chief act duary -- actuary richard foster. he testified that the law will not likely hold costs down and that contrary to the president's mantra, everyone will not be able to keep their insurance coverage if they like it. in response to white house political operation, attack the administration's own nonpartisan professional expert, stating in a blog post once again, we disagree, they said.
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"history shows it is possible to implement measures that will save money for medicare and the federal government." unquote. who are you going to believe? the chief actuary at c.m.s., their actuary, or a white house political operative? the average american citizen might not have a ph.d. in economics, but americans do understand that massive new entitlement programs do not save money. in their guts, the american people know that former c.b.o. director douglas hotels eagle an is right when he -- hotels eke an is right when he concludes the repeal of this flawed law will reduce the deficit by by $300 billion. ultimately all we want is a vote on repeal. last week, some of my democratic colleagues came to the floor to advocate for rules changes that would have substantially limited the rights -- or the right of
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the minority to debate. the filibuster, they insisted, is an affront to democracy and majority rule. let them put their money where their mouths are. all we are asking for is an up-or-down vote on repeal of obamacare. that is what the people want. ultimately, you have to ask why the democratic majority would deny us this vote. i think i know the answer. it has a great deal to do with members of the caucus who know their constituents hate this law. yeah, it has a lot to do with members of the democratic caucus who know their constituents hate this law. yet these members are torn between two masters. on the one hand are their conservative constituents. on the other are the liberal interest groups who supported the government takeover of the nation's health care system. unfortunately, the people again stand to lose in this calculus. i understand that the conventional wisdom tomorrow is
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that my colleagues and i are pursuing a symbolic act. the guardians of the conventional wisdom will opine that attempts to repeal obamacare might make for good theater but are senseless exercises. in my view, this attitude demonstrates a profound lack of respect for the citizens of this democratic republic. over time, given the power of ideas and an engaged citizenry, initially symbolic acts have a way of becoming law. or in this case, have a way of quieting -- getting rid of this law. it might not happen overnight, but citizens exercising their constitutional rights of petition and redress have a way of reminding even the most hardhearted and most hardened of partisan politicians that their job is to represent their constituents. i have no doubt that some will
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scoff at our efforts to repeal this bill, but i rest easy knowing that i am standing with my fellow utahns and the people of this country whose distrust of obamacare grows the more they learn about it. i look forward to the day when obamacare is finally repealed. it may not be next month. it may not be next year, but it will be repealed. and if we're smart, we'll make it next month or within the very near future. and when it is, it will be a triumph for our constitution it will be a triumph for personal liberty. but most importantly, it will be a triumph for the american people who persevered in their resistance to this law. madam president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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mr. durbin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from illinois. mr. durbin: i ask consent that the quorum call be suspended. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: and consent to speak as if in morning business. the presiding officer: without
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objection. mr. durbin: madam president, it is interesting as he we face one of the toughest economic recessions in modern history and a world in turmoil, as many countries are challenging their leadership and assessing their future, that the focal point of the republican legislative effort appears to be the repeal of health care reform. if you take a look at what the american people think about this, they don't agree. they think that if there are ways to improve the bill, we should do it. if there are changes we can make in this bill to make it more effective, we should. but the notion that we would repeal this law and walk away from the basic provisions in it, it's not accepted by the majority of the people. the house republicans, new to the majority this year, decided they needed to keep faith with their followers and repeal health care reform as their highest priority. i sense as the whip in the senate here who counts votes on
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at least one side of the aisle that we are not going to repeal this law, nor do i think we should. it appears that the senate republicans want us to spend some time debating the issue as to whether or not health care reform is good for america. i welcome that debate. because, as you know, madam president, when we reflect on what we have achieved so far in a little over a year with this health care reform and what is followed, it strikes me as unusual that there are people who want to walk away from all of that. the important starting point in this debate is government-administered health care. if you listen to the other, the republican side, the thing they object to the most is the fact that government has some hand in this health insurance industry. they call it government-run health care. those who would take the time to read the bill, and i have, will realize that at the end of the day the only entities offering health insurance in america are
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private companies, aside from the traditional medicare, medicaid programs. so what the republican republice objecting to is a government effort to extend the availablity of private health insurance to more and more americans. what i find out about this is that every single republican and democratic senator is protecting their own families with government-administered private health insurance. the very thing that they're condemning in the health care reform bill is the source of their own personal health insurance for their families. you see, members of congress are part of the federal employees health benefit program. a program that covers eight million federal employees and their families. my wife and i each year have an open enrollment where we can choose from nine different private health insurance companies in the state of illinois. we pick the plan we like the
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best. at our point in life we have more coverage than younger people might and more money is taken out of my paycheck because of that decision. but it is our decision to pick this private insurance company in a plan administered by the federal government. so as the republicans stand and criticize the notion of extending this availablity of option to more and more americans, they are criticizing the very same insurance plan that they are using to protect their own families. if it's good enough for a member of the senate, shouldn't it be good enough for most americans? the insurance exchanges that we are creating here will offer this option for people to choose from private health insurance plans in the future. that, to he me, is a good thing -- to me is a good thing. it certainly has been good to my family in terms of the federal employee health benefit program. there are other parts of the health care reform bill which republicans want to repeal that i know the american people think
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are very valuable. right now young adults up to the age of 26 would lose their insurance government through their parents' health plans if the republicans prevail. this would affect 47,200 people in my state of illinois and 1.2 million annually. who are these young people age 25? well, they're graduates of college looking for jobs. they're finished with education and maybe student health insurance if they had it and they're looking for a job and maybe the first one they find don't offer health benefits. mom and dad say, don't worry, we have you under the family insurance plan. that's part of the insurance bill that people on the other side of the aisle want to repeal. you call them after college. jennifer, how are you doing? hey, do you need health insurance? oh, dad, i don't need that yet. at which point you say, girl, you've got to have it. if we have to pay for it, you've
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got to have it. we're one diagnosis away from needing health insurance. that worry is relieved for those under the age of 25 under health care reform and would be repealed by the republicans. how about lifetime limits? people with private insurance coverage if the republicans have their way and we peel this measure would find themselves sudden -- repeal this measure would find themselves having lifetime limits placed on how much insurance companies will spend on their health care. this affects 7.5 million people in illinois and 165 million nationally. i talked to to a retired firefighter in chicago. he happened to be a man who volunteered and went to new york on 9/11. he came down with leukemia. i said how are you doing? he said i'm feeling good, i have gotten a lot of treatment and it's working. but i'm worried. i'm not old enough to qualify for medicare yet, and i have a limit on my policy of a million bucks. i had no idea i was going to come down with cancer. i have already spent $750,000.
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if i run into some need for additional medical care, it's going to take that out of my savings if i go past this limit. we eliminate the limits on -- on the health insurance policies. repeal of the law will re-establish those limits. how about rescissions? insurance companies, if the republicans have their way and repeal our affordable health care act, would once again be allowed to cut off someone's coverage unexpectedly when they are in an accident or become sick because of a simple mistake on the application. that would leave 612,000 people in illinois and 15.9 million nationally at the risk of losing their insurance at the moment they need it the most. one of the worst abuses of the insurance industry would become legal again if the republicans have their way and repeal affordable health care. how does this work? well, i can tell you what happens. we've seen it. people have contacted our office. the most notorious example was a woman who said that when she
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needed coverage for surgery, the health insurance company went through her application, said oh, you failed to disclose a pre-existing condition, we disqualify you, we rescind the policy. she said what pre-existing condition? acne, you had acne when you were a teenager. well, think about that, would you ever put that down as a pre-existing condition when you're applying for health insurance? it was enough for the health insurance company to turn her loose and refuse to cover her. also, nearly 7.5 million residents of illinois and 165 million annually would not know if they are receiving value for their health insurance premium dollars because the republican repeal of health care would remove the requirement that insurers spend at least 80% to 85% of premium dollars on actual health care. not on bonuses, not on salaries, not on advertising, not on administrative but actually on health care. it's an effort to have the states monitor these health insurance companies and make sure when the premiums -- or the
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rates go up, that the money being collected is actually going to health care. that would be eliminated if the republicans have their way to repeal the affordable health care act. how about preventative care? nearly 1.8 million seniors in illinois who have medicare coverage and 44 million nationally would be forced to pay a co-pay to receive important preventative services like mammograms and colonoscopies and free wellness visits. we know what happens when a person doesn't have a lot of money and is in their senior status and they are faced with the possibility of getting a test, they put it off. and the longer you put it off, unfortunately, it's more likely something bad will occur. the republican repeal of health care would mean that this preventative care currently offered under the bill for medicare recipients would be eliminated. and then there is the doughnut hole or the gap in coverage for
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medicare prescription drugs. 109,421 seniors in illinois, 2.7 million nationally, would see significantly higher prescription drug costs if the republicans are successful and repeal health care. last year, these beneficiaries received a one-time tax-free tax-free $250 rebate to help fill the gap for prescription drugs in the doughnut hole coverage gap. medicare beneficiaries who fall into the doughnut hole in 2011 will be eligible for 50% discounts on conched brand name prescription drugs and without the law, the coverage of high prx would hurt millions of beneficiaries across the country. what the republicans would do with the repeal of health care is to say to seniors on fixed incomes turn to your savings, pull more out of your savings for the prescription drugs that your doctor tells you, you need to stay well. we are filling that gap, filling that hole, and they want to go back to the old days when seniors were on their own.
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then there is the early retiree and reinsurance program. 279 employers in my state, 4,748 nationally would receive help from this program. it's a program that provides businesses, schools, unions, state and local governments and nonprofits much-needed financial relief to help early retirees and their families continue to have quality, affordable health care coverage. who are these people? one of them was in my family. my brother, retired, working for a major corporation before he reached the age of 65. he had a heart attack and needed surgery, and he couldn't get insured. he had to wait until he was qualified for medicare. this plan allows early retirees to find insurance before they qualify for medicare and provides an incentive for that to happen. the repeal of this law by the republicans would basically eliminate that program. so when they stand before us and tell us that they are just doing the right thing, what americans really want, i'm afraid that isn't the case.
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most americans want us to keep health care reform, change it, modify it if necessary, but don't repeal it because when we repeal it, these basic things that i have described here are going to be in trouble. now, what about this court case yesterday in florida? it's getting a lot of attention today. a judge in florida issued a decision in a case filed by 25 republican attorneys general and governors striking down the affordable health care act. this ruling is out of the mainstream of judicial reasoning in its treatment of precedent and in the type of analysis employed. i don't think it's likely to be upheld. 12 federal judges have already dismissed challenges to the constitutionality of the health reform bill, and two judges, in the eastern district of michigan and the western district of virginia, have upheld the law. in one other case, a federal judge in the eastern district of virginia issued a very narrow ruling on the constitutionality of the health reform law's individual responsibility provision and upheld the rest of the law. the ruling yesterday in florida
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issued by judge vincent in the northern district is a plain case of overreaching. the judge declared the entire law was null and void, even though the only provision he found unconstitutional related to the individual responsibility provision. this decision is at odds with decades of established supreme court law which has consistently found that courts have a constitutional obligation to preserve as much of a statute as can be preserved. under this view of the law, the estimated four million seniors who fall into the medicare prescription drug coverage gap that i mentioned earlier will pay higher prices for prescription drugs if the judge from florida has his way. 44 million seniors of medicare denied access to preventative care, up to four million small businesses would not be eligible for tax credits to make health care more affordable. now provisions that prevent insurance companies from denying coverage and the like will not become part of the law. history is on our side when it comes to this measure, madam president.
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tomorrow, the senate judiciary committee at my request is going to hold a hearing on the constitutionality of the health care reform act. it's the first congressional hearing on this issue, and as a person who is aspiring to be the chairman of the constitution subcommittee, i ask that this be the first subject we take up. the reason i am still aspiring is we haven't closed all of the negotiations about funding of committees, so nothing has become former yet. it's likely to occur. what we'll look at tomorrow is article 1, section 8 of the constitution. that is the article that specifically says the powers that congress, the senate and the house, have, they spelled it out, and in the course of spelling it out, they said, among other things, that we have the power to tax, the power related to provisions relating to commerce, and it came to be viewed in the courts as interstate commerce, commerce between the states or between other states and other nations.
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those who are arguing that the health care reform bill is unconstitutional first argue that the health care insurance industry is not commerce. if the health care insurance industry which offers industry across state lines to millions of americans is not commerce and it affects 18% of our economy, then i don't know what congress congress -- commerce might be. i think that position is particularly weak. when it comes to the individual responsibility or the individual mandate system that's in the bill, the question is being asked of the court is why is this necessary? well, here is why it's necessary. if you say to insurance companies you don't have to insure anyone with a pre-existing condition, then, of course, they're going to exclude people, but if you tell them you have to insure everybody, even those with pre-existing conditions, then the obvious question is when will a person buy insurance? if you don't have a responsibility on individuals to buy insurance, two things will occur: they will wait until they are sick to buy insurance, which
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completely destroys the risk model that insurance companies use, or they will present themselves as they do today at many hospitals for coverage and care that's passed on to other people. so the individual responsibility section says if you don't have insurance coverage, then you have to pay a tax penalty, and that is what many are objecting to. you cannot eliminate schiewgz -- exclusions for pre-existing conditions and not move more and more people into the risk pool at an earlier stage. if people can wait until the last minute to get into the risk pool, then the insurance model is destroyed. that's why it's in there. i think that we'll find ultimately -- and i hope we do from the supreme court -- is that what we have passed is entirely consistent with the regulations or powers given to congress under article 1, section 8 of the constitution to deal with issues of commerce. secondly, that the imposition of a tax as it does in this bill, the health care reform bill, is clearly enumerated and the power
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is given to the congress to levy taxes, and what we have done is necessary and proper to reach the goal where we eliminate because of pre-existing conditions in health insurance plans. that debate is ahead of us, but it's a debate that we need to take up. i'm happy to talk about the health care reform bill because i think it's a movement in the right direction. it's not perfect. it can be improved. but if the republicans want to repeal it, they're in for a fight because the important provisions that we have here to protect families and businesses need to be protected. what we want to bring up as soon as we can when we get beyond this debate on health care repeal is the re-authorization of the federal aviation administration. we have been struggling with this issue for a long, long time, and we believe that this bill, which our majority leader harry reid has asked to bring to the floor, creates and protects more than 280,000 jobs by modernizing the air travel infrastructure and reducing costly delays. i think this is an important
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step forward, not just to create jobs. we need them very badly. but also to make certain that our airplanes and airliners and all those who are serving us at the airports have a safer environment, establishing new standards for safety when it comes to the operation of our airlines. i think this is a critical issue. i hope we can move to it soon. i'm sorry that we're going to be diverted into a debate on health care reform, but as i said, i think it's a welcome debate. it's time we brought some of these facts before the american people so that they understand that health care reform has real value to families and businesses across the united states, making health care insurance more affordable and more accessible. madam president, i yield the floor and suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:


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